Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urged owners of certain Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, and General Motors vehicles to act right away to replace defective Takata airbags that are part of a massive recall notice.
This newest recall adds additional vehicles to an original recall notice and boosts the number of recalled vehicles to over 4.7 million cars. The airbags are being recalled because at least four people have died with airbag inflator mechanisms rupture, spraying occupants with fragments of metal.
Florida Woman Dies After Being Hit By Airbag Debris
In a case that is close to home, a fourth fatal car accident has been linked to a defective airbag made by Japanese supplier Takata Corp., according to a county medical examiner in Florida.
The woman passed away four days after her red 2001 Honda Accord sedan struck another car, causing the airbags to deploy and sending shrapnel flying at the woman. Reports from the medical examiner indicate that shrapnel from the airbag’s deployment came “tearing through” the airbag and hit the woman. He also said that the airbag shrapnel cut the woman’s trachea and caused “stab-type wounds.”
Emergency medical workers said that the accident victim “had 2 or 3 deep cuts on her right side of her neck that were not consistent with crash injuries, according to the crash report. The report also noted that the woman was wearing her seatbelt and that the car had no broken windows that could have caused the injuries.
How Airbags Function
When airbags function correctly, they can save lives. Depending on the make, model, and year a vehicle was manufactured, there can be several airbags in a car. There are three main parts of an airbag—the bag, the sensor, and the inflation system:
-the bag is made of a thin, nylon fabric that is folded into the steering wheel or dashboard;
-the sensor instructs the airbag to inflate when there is a collision force of at least 10 mph; and
-the inflation system, which uses a chemical reaction between sodium azide (NaN3) with potassium nitrate (KNO3) to produce nitrogen gas. This blast of nitrogen gas then inflates the airbag.
When an airbag is defective, it can become deadly. The problem with the Takata Corp. airbags has to do with the explosive device in the inflation system. The faulty airbags have inflator devices that can burn hotter and more aggressively than they should, causing the inflator to burst apart and propel shards of metal through the airbag’s fabric. The metal shards create shrapnel that can injure the driver or other occupants of the vehicle. There also may be problems with whether the airbag is properly sealed within the inflation system.
Florida Product Liability For Defective Airbags
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating whether the Takata Corp. airbags manufactured between 2000 and 2007 were improperly manufactured. They are particularly concerned about vehicles that have been owned in Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands, and Hawaii because humidity can cause the seal on the inflation system to weaken.
Consumers who are uncertain whether their vehicles are impacted by recalls of Tataka airbags can check here. Using the site requires that owners enter their vehicle identification number (VIN). In addition, consumers can sign up for NHTSA vehicle and component part recalls.
Florida Legal Help For Defective Airbag Accidents
Under Florida product liability law, a product manufacturer, distributor, or seller can be held liable for unreasonably dangerous products. When manufacturers use inferior part or components to manufacture a product which later causes injury, the injured person is entitled to compensation for hospital bills, lost income, ongoing medical costs, pain and suffering, and other losses. If you have been injured by a defective or dangerous product, contact the experienced Florida product liability lawyers at Fasig & Brooks for prompt, professional legal help with your injury case. Call us at (850) 222-3232or fill out our online contact form today.